One of the most consequential Rim Country primaries in years has finally come gusting into town like a monsoon storm, with new rules, misprinted voter ID cards, voter confusion — and a host of high-stakes campaigns.
County officials scrambled today to get the word out, since many voters who didn’t vote by mail may not know they need certain kinds of identification to cast a ballot this year.
Unfortunately, a mistake in filling out the recently-mailed voter cards left many voters puzzled as to their polling places. The box for voter’s precinct ended up with the wrong number on many cards.
A few candidates are planning gatherings to await returns tonight. Many of the candidates plan to drop by a gathering for both parties at the county offices at 610 E. Highway 260.
The county elections office has already counted most of the ballots, since the bulk of primary voters cast their ballots by mail. The elections office will post results online as they come in at http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/AZ/Gila/22338/40316/en/summary.html.
This year the primary ballot is crowded with important races and fiercely competing candidates.
The first election in the shadow of once-a-decade redistricting, the races locally could shift influence from southern Gila County to the north — depending on relative turnouts at the opposite ends of the county.
Perhaps the most hotly contested race is to replace retiring Gila County Sheriff John Armer. Candidates are contending for both the Democratic and Republican nominations — with much of the attention focused on the face-off in the Republican primary between Darrell Stubbs and Adam Shepherd — two veteran lawmen. Ray Van Buskirk and Craig Jones are competing for the Democratic nomination.
Stubbs said he plans an election night gathering in Globe, while Shepherd said he planned to stop by the county offices once the polls close.
The next most consequential and hotly contested primary contest centers on the contest to replace retiring Gila County Supervisor Shirley Dawson. The result of that contest could shift the balance of power in county politics northward. Payson judge and former law enforcement officer Ronnie McDaniel is vying with Globe businessman John Marcanti and Marvin Mull in the Democratic primary — with no one running on the Republican side.
District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin is unopposed in the Republican primary, but will face developer Hallie Jackman in the general election.
Strongly contested primary fights up for grabs today include the Republican congressional race to determine who represents Rim Country, the Republican U.S. Senate Race, the county assessor’s office and the county recorder’s office.
Other races will heat up starting tomorrow, with the party candidates selected.
That includes the redistricted state senate and house seats, with a strong slate of candidates from both the Republicans and Democrats and the U.S. Senate race, which promises to set spending records and perhaps determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
Locally, the sheriff’s race, supervisors’, assessor, treasurer and recorder races will all enter a new phase for the Nov. 4 general election.
In addition, a near-record nine candidates have filed for the Payson School Board and seven candidates are seeking the three seats up for grabs on the Northern Gila County Sanitary District Board — a vital but often overlooked district.
In addition, special districts and school districts from throughout the county will select board members in the general election.
Meanwhile, voters will face some new challenges when it comes to actually casting a ballot this year.
The Gila County Recorder’s Office mailed registered voters their new identification cards, which must be presented when casting ballots. The ID card mailer also has information about upcoming election dates, proper voter identification to present at the polls, permanent early voting information and more.
Voters should review the mailer carefully to make sure all the information is correct, especially name, address and party affiliation.
Some glitches in information — such as in which school district or precinct a voter resides — have been reported.
If there is incorrect information on your voter ID card or you wish to make changes, call the recorder for instructions on how to proceed. The recorder’s office can be reached at (928) 402-8735, (928) 402-8731 or 800-291-4452.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 11. To participate in the general election, voters must be registered by Monday, Oct. 8.
For additional information or questions, contact the Gila County Recorder’s Office at (928) 402-8734 or (928) 402-8731.
Northern Gila County polling places are as follows:
Payson 1 – Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St., Payson
Payson 2 – St. Philip’s Catholic Church, 511 S. St. Phillips Street, Payson
Payson 3 – First Southern Baptist Church, 302 S. Ash St., Payson
Payson 4 – Best Western Payson Inn, 801 N. Beeline Hwy., Payson
Payson 5 – Church of Christ, 401 E. Tyler Parkway, Payson
Payson 6 – Mount Cross Lutheran Church, 601 E. Hwy. 260, Payson
Payson 7 – Ponderosa Baptist Church, 1800 N. Beeline Hwy., Payson
Payson 8 – Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Rd., Payson
Star Valley – Star Valley Baptist Church, 4180 E. Hwy. 260, Star Valley
Pine-Strawberry East and West – First Baptist Church of Pine, 4039 N. Hwy. 87, Pine
Gisela – Gisela Community Center, 136 S. Tatum Trail, Gisela
Tonto Basin – Tonto Basin Chamber of Commerce, 45675 Hwy. 188, Tonto Basin
Whispering Pines – Whispering Pines Fire Station, Whispering Pines
Zane Grey – Christopher Creek Bible Fellowship Church, 1036 E. Christopher Creek Loop, Christopher Creek
Young – Pleasant Valley Community Center, Pleasant Valley Rd., Young
Canyon Day – Canyon Day Jr. High School, 4621 S. 9th St., Cedar Creek
Carrizo – Assembly of God Church, V-10 Rd., Carrizo